A perfect time of year for this seasonal recipe using freshly foraged chestnuts! Make sure you collect the opened prickly shell ones, which litter our forest floors at this time and it makes a fun day out collecting them. Mind your fingers on the shell spikes and the smooth shelled chestnuts are toxic so you clearly want to avoid them. If you can’t get hold of fresh chestnuts, purée is usually available in the stores.
Trending massively on social networks, magazines and peak time programmes dedicated to it, we’re asking,
What’s the Truth about Sugar?
Sugar is a controversial topic. In the past year it has replaced fat as the bad guy of the nutrition pie chart; according to paediatric endocrinologist and author Dr Robert Lustig, understanding its addictive quality is key to fighting it; simply telling somebody to eat less sugar, he says, makes about as much sense as teling a diabetic to drink less water – thirst is a symptom of diabetes, as obesity is a symptom of sugar addiction. So let’s look at the truth about sugar.
Carob and all of our products have naturally occurring sugars only.
Citing a combination of sugar’s effect, which is to launch the brain into a vicious cycle, and the fast food industry’s willingness to abuse our natural weakness for sugar by adding it to everything possible, Lustig suggests that sugar is to blame for the worlds obesity pandemic.
Sugar also triggers the release of huge amounts of dopamine – one of the hormones associated with feelings of pleasure and reward – which, to put it simply, feels good. When the dopamine spike has passed you end up a little lower than where you started, and miss the feeling of the dopamine high. If high-sugar foods are consumed frequently, the brain starts to reduce the number of dopamine receptors, which means that next time you eat sugary food, the effect will be blunted, and more will have to be consumed to achieve the same effect.
Did you know in the UK, almost 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children are classed as obese?
The truth is combating this can seem tricky when, as Lustig points out, most food manufacturers are far from shy about adding sugar to their products. As well as buying from local producers who have more than big bucks on their priorities lists, a good place to start is by paying attention to the glycemic index (G.I.) of the foods you consume, not just sugary ones:
High GI foods have a bigger effect on blood sugar levels, trigger more of a dopamine spike, and are therefore more addictive, while low GI means that the food will be processed more slowly (thanks to the presence of fibres, for example), and ensure a slower, longer release of energy.
And yes, you guessed it: Savvy Spreads, with their combination of natural sweetness and fibre-rich sesame seeds, scores low on the glycemic index and high for your health! Carob itself is low GI too, of course and has loads of added benefits…
Obesity: everyone knows it increases your chances of heart disease, but did you know it can also lead to increased risk of heart disease for your children, too? According to research presented at the American Heart Association 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago, children of overweight or obese mothers had a 90% higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death. Obesity can also lead to higher risk of certain cancers, as well as of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the most prevalent form of liver disease in the US), and of sleep apnea.
While it’s easy to acknowledge that obesity is a dangerous and increasingly prevalent disease, it can be harder to know how to tackle it. We all want to be healthy and to help our families be healthy too, but it can seem increasingly difficult to source foods that aren’t full of hidden sugars and fats; anyone who has tried to cut processed sugar out of their diet knows it’s not easy, let alone when it comes to providing tasty crowd-pleasers for your whole family!
One way to improve your diet and help reduce your risk of obesity is to replace your intake of processed sugars with unrefined ones. While both kinds of sugar contain the same calories, the way your body processes them is different. Refined sugars, which are found in foods such as biscuits, cakes and sweets, as well as lots of savoury foods too, come from sugar cane or sugar beets which have been processed to remove the fibre. The body breaks down these sugars rapidly, which causes a spike in insulin levels. Insulin removes surplus glucose from the blood and lowers the speed at which the body burns fat – this causes fat to be stored rather than used for energy, and leads to feelings of lethargy and hunger, and cravings for more sugar.
Natural sugars, especially when combined with fibre, are broken down more slowly, which means you feel fuller for longer after eating them. That’s why the warm intermingling flavours of our pure fruit syrups, as well as honey and sesame are both delicious and a Savvy choice for you and your family!